Eth Lloyd reports on the Summit as Co-Chairman…
I was honoured to be the Co-Chairman (2014-2015) of the 9th World Administrators’ Summit Advisory Council 2015 (11-14 August, 2015) with Mrs Weka Avosa from Papua New Guinea (PNG). Working across countries and cultures is a challenging but extremely rewarding undertaking. It is through these challenges that we truly get to know others and to respect the work that they do and the commitment they bring to their roles.
If you have seen information over the last few months about the 9th World Administrators’ Summit and wondered what it was, here is a brief outline of the history and some initial decisions from this recent event which may well help inform you. This event and future events are very important to you as administrative professionals; it is about positively changing the perception and recognition of your profession.
In 1992 Professional Secretaries International (now International Association of Administrative Professionals – IAAP) hosted a meeting that brought together the leaders of the various associations throughout the world to participate in an international summit discussing global issues affecting secretarial staff. This event was called the International Secretarial Summit and the first two were hosted in the United States.
Since then Summits have been hosted, in order, in South Africa, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Australia, Trinidad and Tobago, New Zealand again (when the event was renamed World Administrators’ Summit) and most recently Papua New Guinea. These Summits have been held every two to three years and at each Summit a bid has been accepted for hosting the next event.
The goal of the World Administrators’ Summit was:
A global meeting of administrative and office professionals and Associations; to guide, influence and positively develop the profession.
World Action Plan – Administra
In 2006 the host country, Australia, purchased the naming rights to a new star in the heavens and had it named Administra in honour of all Administrative/Office Professionals throughout the world.
The first World Action Plan was developed at th2 2006 event and those present agreed that Administra was an appropriate name for this plan. Administra (which can be found at www.worldadministratorssummit.com) provides a framework for Associations to organise and accomplish their own goals. It was intended to spark energy and commitment in Associations through being connected and provide the opportunity for collegiality and co-operation.
Administra is a set of guidelines; it is not a set of rules. These guidelines are for the use of all associations throughout the world to help in developing their own strategic or business plans. However, to be useful, an action plan is a living document and at the next international summit must be reviewed and revised to meet changing directions.
One of the Delegate agenda items for discussion at the most recent Summit in PNG were revisions of Administra’s goals which to this point had focussed more on administrative professional associations than on the administrative professional. The revised goals while high level can be used by both individuals and associations to help set their own goals. The four goals in their unrefined state are:
1 Encourage administrative professionals into professional development and career progression.
2 Connect world Assistants so there is commonality in our uniqueness.
3 Establish the role of an administrative professional as a profession.
4 Ensure that the future of the Global Administrative Professionals Summit continues to be inspirational and sustainable.
Further discussion, refinement and supporting details are required and this will be undertaken by the renamed and redeveloped Global Administrators’ Council. Once completed the final reviewed version of Administra will be placed on the website.
Every country in the world is able to send up to three delegates to the World Administrators’ Summit to represent and present the views of administrative professionals in their country.
Often the delegates are appointed from the national administrative professional association, if they have one. However this year, 2015, individuals were able to apply to be a delegate if they met specific criteria set out in the Delegate Credential form, which can be found on the website.
Other Delegate Agenda topics discussed were:
1 Administrative profession – is it a profession?
- Universal Position Titles — part of being recognised as a profession?
2 Professional Development: is it essential for the role?
- International Certification /Accreditation/Qualification
3 Internationalism for the profession
- Speaking as One Voice — is there value in networking with other administrative professionals, affiliation with other countries?
- Code of Conduct — is there value in this?
4 Future of World Summits: should they continue? If so, what should the timing and locations be?
5 Terms of reference
- Advisory Council
b.Local Organising Committee
Notes from these discussions are being finalised and will be shared first with the Delegates who were present, then with all Associations around the world and will be put up on the website for all administrative professionals to consider.
One significant result is that it was agreed that these world summits should continue every three years and the next one will be in 2018. A slight name change was discussed and agreed: Global Administrative Professionals Summit. The location has not yet been finalised but will be by October 2015. This will be shared with all Associations and put on the website and Facebook www.facebook.com/pages/9th-World-Administrators-Summit/836994436377014.
Several working parties are being developed to continue investigations and discussions on all of the topics above so that decisions can be made and progress shown when we all meet again in 2018. A redevelopment of the structure of how these events are managed is underway. Additionally it has been agreed that these summits will remain a working event for delegates from all countries who can attend. The host country may run a concurrent conference but that is an entirely separate matter and solely the business of the host country.
The PNGAAP Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting ran concurrently with the World Administrators’ Summit Delegate discussions. PNGAAP has over 1,000 members throughout PNG. It is stunning to understand that PNG, a developing country with 800+ distinct languages and a population of 7 million of which only 18% live in urban areas, can easily bring together 250 of their own administrative professionals to attend this conference. There were even more administrative professionals from PNG who wished to attend but spaces were limited.
There was a combined session of conference participants and Delegates on Day 3 of this event where the Delegates from the Summit reported to the conference participants on the results of their discussions. There were thought-provoking statements shared; a participant from PNG who said: “The messages we take away from here are not just for us but to give to our children. Education is an equaliser.” And Leanne Fisher, Delegate from Australia who said: “There is a commonality in our uniqueness.”
The Global Administrative Professionals Summit is your voice in the world which is seeking to ensure your day-to-day work is respected as a profession and that through speaking as One Voice you are heard as a respected part of the business and world community.
These Summits are something that you should be interested in and participate in, wherever and however possible. If there is a survey about you and your profession then take part in it, especially if it is for the next Global Administrative Professionals Summit; this is your opportunity to be heard and to have your view counted. Put the website into your favourites and “like” the Facebook page so you can easily keep up to date.
I have been deeply appreciative of being able to participate in all Summits since 2000, except this one when special family commitments kept me at home. I plan to be at the next Global Administrative Professionals’ Summit in 2018, wherever it is and in whatever role and providing whatever support I can.
I believe these Summits provide an opportunity for me to contribute to the profession that I worked in for 35 years, and allow me to internationally support my fellow administrative professionals in the recognition of their work, and to help to strengthen the world perception of their roles.